I can tell summertime is not going to be my best season for writing because disruptions and distractions abound. Most of our family birthdays occur during the summer and fall months. In addition there are holidays like the Fourth of July, as well as family reunions, family camping and an increase in church activities. Relationships are important and must be nurtured. All of this takes time away from writing.
Yet, I am committed to persevere with my writing and in my decision to get my house, and therefore my life, organized and in order. It’s an ongoing process, isn’t it? It seems like organizing and orderliness are not a one-time activity. They both require regular maintenance to avoid disarray from getting the upper hand.
I marvel at those of you who have children, especially young children, and still manage to keep on pace with your writing.
It seems the only way to keep such a pace must require compartmentalizing your life. A time-management workshop I once took suggested that a person should allot certain segments of time each day to work on and finish projects. Writing certainly seems to fall into such a plan. Even so, I find such an approach akin to juggling knives and plates. Nothing really fits together and something is always getting dropped. My best results usually come from working on a project until I finish it or get too sleepy to continue.
Hence, some aspects of life (like housework and sleep) wind up getting dropped. I let it slide until it begins screaming at me, demanding my attention. I can only tolerate so much dirt and clutter before I get to the point where I can’t ignore it any longer. I’m finding that having to deal with the mundane tends to make me cranky because it is not what I really want to be doing. Or is it just the lack of sleep that makes me cranky?
Here is my ideal lifestyle: a maid to handle the cleaning, cooking, and laundry; a secretary to handle the mail, paper sorting and filing; and a personal assistant to run errands. Nothing for me to do but write and keep up my relationships with family and friends. Yes, I’m dreaming.
When I read the acknowledgements that author’s write for their books I frequently wonder how many mundane tasks they manage to escape. You know the blurbs I refer to. The author profusely thanks parents, or wives, and/or children for allowing them to spend so much time writing. Do the Stephen Kings, Sue Graftons, and John Grishams of the writing world accomplish such a prolific number of titles and still have time to cook meals, wash dishes, do laundry and mow lawns? Or do they get to sit at their desks hour after hour while someone else takes care of all those tasks?
I wrote recently about having the various aspects of my life relate to the topic of writing. (Simplify Life: Choose a Theme) That worked for homeschooling and should work, in theory, for writing but on a practical level I’m finding that the non-writing activities have been getting short shrift. This is partly due to the fact that my fiber arts (spinning, knitting and weaving) are all hands-on activities and so is writing. I can let writing ideas percolate while my hands are doing something else but I frequently lose the thoughts because I can’t write them down. I’ve been thinking that a good digital recorder that picks up my voice from a distance might be helpful.
I am still trying to find the balance between life’s necessities and writing–the balance between duty and desires. Summer is making it even more difficult. If anybody in the blogosphere has suggestions that don’t involve compartmentalizing my life, let me know. With your permission I’ll post your suggestions here on my blog. If I find any solutions myself I’ll let you know.
Have you found the magic bullet for living a balanced life that isn’t fragmented? Please share.
Here are links to some articles on balancing life: